Raid on students suspected of model-plane terror plot
POLICE have carried out raids in Germany and Belgium targeting an alleged Islamist plot by university aeronautics students to use remotely controlled planes for a terrorist attack.
German authorities searched nine homes and properties in the Stuttgart area, in the area around Munich, as well as in Saxony and Belgium.
A spokesman for Germany's Attorney General confirmed that the suspected plot involved the use of model planes fitted with explosives.
The Attorney General's office said in a statement: "The searches in the Stuttgart area and in Belgium were directed against two men of Tunisian origin who are suspected of collecting information and items for the commission of radical Islamist bombings with remote-controlled model aeroplanes."
Two of the suspected plotters were students in the aeronautics department at the University of Stuttgart, who were developing systems for using GPS to guide pilot-less aircraft, according to the German public broadcaster SWR.
The raids also targeted the homes of four of the men's acquaintances, who are being investigated on suspicion of financing militant jihad. One acquaintance of the suspected plotters is under investigation for money laundering. No arrests have been made, authorities said.
The statement read: "The aim of today's search is to obtain evidence of potential attack plans and preparations, and to gain insight into the means of financing radical Islamist terrorism."
The raids, involving about 90 police officers, were carried out by SWAT teams, as police feared the suspects might be armed.
Germany has suffered only one deadly attack by an Islamist radical: the shooting of two US servicemen at Frankfurt airport in 2011. There have been several attempted attacks in Germany, which stayed out of the Iraq war, but is the third largest contributor to international forces in Afghanistan. (©Daily Telegraph, London)